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The Dress That Is Driving Parents Crazy

Blue and black? White and gold? At least we can all agree it's not red.

An image of a dress is driving the Internet nuts. Some see a blue dress with black lacy fringe, while others see a white dress with gold detailing. According to an unscientific BuzzFeed poll, about a quarter of voters see the former and the rest see the latter.

So what's the real deal?

At this point it appears that the dress is actually black and blue. So why do so many report seeing something else?

In the image above, the left side shows the dress in question, and on the right is the picture that is making the Web's collective eyes cross. But set aside the social media debate and that's where this gets really interesting.

It's science, people!

As reported in Wired, the way one's eyes and brain interpret colors in a sunlit world is really what's at play in this controversy. When taking in visual information, the brain processes what color of light is reflecting off whatever it is you're looking at, and it tries to remove that added color from the true color of the object you see.

"Our visual system is supposed to throw away information about the illuminant and extract information about the actual reflectance," Jay Neitz, a neuroscientist at the University of Washington, told Wired.

That's why a photo taken with a poor camera in crappy lighting can be seen so differently by people. Basically, our individual biology determines how our brains interpret a color—based on the amount of light reflecting off whatever it is we're looking at.

"What’s happening here is your visual system is looking at this thing, and you're trying to discount the chromatic bias of the daylight axis," Bevil Conway, a neuroscientist at Wellesley College, said in the Wired article. "So people either discount the blue side, in which case they end up seeing white and gold, or discount the gold side, in which case they end up with blue and black."

So, what colors do you see?

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Image via BuzzFeed

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